Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What's a war without Canons?

I finally got around to reading Rachel Donadio's article, "Revisiting the Canon Wars." Hmm. A couple thoughts:

[Tony] Judt also denounces the balkanization created by interdisciplinary ethnic studies programs. Multiculturalism “created lots and lots of microconstituencies, which universities didn’t have the courage to oppose,” he said. “It’s much more like a supermarket — kids can take pretty much any courses they like: Jewish kids take Jewish studies, gay students gay studies, black students African-American studies. You no longer have a university, but a series of identity constituencies all studying themselves.”

Judt misses the obvious counterargument: in the implied Golden Age of American education, the universal Student studied the universal Culture. But when the student was in most cases a white, Christian male and the culture studied was that of the West, the glorious university was in fact an "identity constituency" of its very own.

In “The Closing of the American Mind,” [Allan] Bloom himself wrote that a liberal education should provide a student with “four years of freedom” — “a space between the intellectual wasteland he has left behind and the inevitable dreary professional training that awaits him after the baccalaureate.”

Job training is only "inevitable" if a student, after four years of Plato, is able to find a job.


Glenn said...

Just a dumb question--

you say "Job training is only 'inevitable' if a student, after four years of Plato, is able to find a job."

Don't you mean it is inevitable if you are UNable to find a job?

Phoebe said...

I had assumed Bloom meant on-the-job training. Not sure why.